Introduction: How to Fix a Zipper (without Replacing It)

Picture of How to Fix a Zipper (without Replacing It)

This is a easy way to fix a zipper without replacing it. This method is really fast too. It works when the zipper pull doesn't close the zipper together anymore. I don't really like to replace zippers, because they always come out a little bit wavy when I do it myself.

You can save a jacket, a tent, a sleeping bag, and many other items.

Step 1: What You'll Need

Picture of What You'll Need

You will only need a pair of pliers.
But if the zipper pull is really destroyed or is made of plastic you will need a NEW ONE OF THE SAME SIZE. YOU CAN FIND IT IN ANOTHER OLD JACKET. Or you can buy one online for really cheap.

Step 2: Remove Stopper

Picture of Remove Stopper

Remove the little iron stopper of the top of the zipper, which will be on the same side of the jacket where the zipper puller is.

(Sometimes they are made of plastic, so it is little more difficult to remove and replace. You may need to substitute it with few knot of thread or something else. There is many tutorial out there on how to replace a stopper).

Step 3: Remove Zipper Pull

Picture of Remove Zipper Pull

Remove zipper pull. You can probably see that it is all distorted.

Step 4: Adjust the Zipper Pull

Picture of Adjust the Zipper Pull


With the pliers close the two sides of the zipper pull, try to make it look like the original shape again.

If your zipper pull is not too worn out you can try to close it directly on the zipper, without removing it.

(if it is made out of plastic, if it is too bent or if it breaks doing this, you need to find another one of the same size, they are available online, or you can take it from another old zipper).

Step 5: Put Back the Zipper Pull

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Put back the zipper pull. It may take a little bit of time...

Step 6: Put Back the Tooth

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Put back the iron tooth with the pliers.

Step 7: Done!

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Faster than changing it!


Davor_S (author)2017-11-27

Thank You!
You just save my money.

marcellahella (author)Davor_S2018-01-09

Glad it was useful!

PlantFoodV (author)2017-11-29

You know, you can squeeze the zipper slider without taking it off the jacket. If the slider is broken, you can replace just the slider with a new one the same method as above. The small metal piece at the top is a stopper, not teeth.

marcellahella (author)PlantFoodV2018-01-09

Yes, I wrote it already in step 4, but sometimes, when it is really distorted, it is better to remove it, to take a better look of it, and adjust the right and left hole equally.

And thanks for the word "stopper", I'll change it.

claymccabe (author)PlantFoodV2018-01-08

Right you are! Except it's a Top Stop that is removed.
So much bad advice on zippers out there it's crazy

claymccabe (author)2018-01-08

Pinching only works in some cases and is temporary since these are pot metal and not iron, really you don't have to take the slider off to pinch. What you want is a new slider. You can find a great repair kit for replacing zipper sliders at

Great customer service and such a useful product!

burzurk (author)2017-11-26

OMG this is sooo useful! I recently had a zipper issue with some motorcycle gear...took me hours to figure out. this will help next time.

marksstudio (author)2017-11-23

On man what a timely Instructable! Best backpack ever developed that zipper issue. Read this..... 4 minutes later... Success! Thanks man. You solved that with alacrity.... and grace! Well done.

RonGarza (author)marksstudio2017-11-25

alacrity? Does your mother know you are using that kind of smut in public? (Thanks for the word!)

Thank you! I'm happy it was so useful to many people

JIMM19722 (author)2016-05-26

What you did was fine. There is a missing tooth in the picture and the zipper won't work very well this way. Sooo how do you handle that?

Jaodono (author)JIMM197222017-11-25

Had that problem too. Used needle and thread, built it up where it's missing, but not too much. Then, using a toothpick dabbed a bit of fabric glue to stiffen. Mine had plastic teeth. Works, but have to be careful pulling up pass it. Good luck.

yimlas (author)2016-01-19

If the teeth are broken the whole zipper needs to be changed. If the slider (the part that opens or closes the zipper) is hard to move up and down on a metal zipper, use some graphite on the zipper teeth and it will slide easily. Don't know what would work on a plastic zipper .

PsychoticHatter (author)yimlas2016-02-03

If a plastic zipper (with teeth or with coils) is having issues moving up and down you can use a silicon spray or something called Super Slick Stuff. It smells like oranges while the silicon just smells bad.

johnny3h (author)PsychoticHatter2017-11-24

I simply rub the zipper teeth with bar soap [dry, not wet], similar to loosenig a "sticky" dresser drawer.

sekitori (author)PsychoticHatter2016-05-27

or candle-grease

Lydia976 (author)yimlas2017-01-20

Try wax.

Tryingtomakeit (author)2017-11-24

This technique is also very useful if the pull tab breaks off. I have
used paperclips as replacement pull tabs, but with this fix, I will
simply replace the broken one with another puller of the same size.
Thank you so much!

dpalias072 (author)2017-11-24

If you've lost the tab at the start of the zip take a needle and thread and build up the area by over sewing the stitches but not to much
Then find a plastic that can be easily melted with a lighter weight melt and apply to overstitched area both sides being careful not to get it on yourself or the item let it harden then try to build this up to what it was previously you can the fashion this using a lighter with the aid of an old knife or scraper
I've used this method more than a couple of times

cck_36 (author)2017-11-24

You can buy pliers from local shop that sells tools or u can get them from any pound store in the UK

Good instructable thank you

schmitta (author)2017-11-23

Thank you to the women that teach us men how to fix a zipper or make donuts. What would we do without you?

JansenJ (author)2017-11-23

No need to take the pull off. Just squeeze it

Mike Eby (author)2017-11-23

Had one to fix and now its fixed. Just in time for the cold weather.

tincho1962 (author)2017-11-23

1.esto solo sirve para cierres metalicos, para los cierres plasticos, no hay solucion ya que los dientes estan "soldados" o engrampados a la tela y es una sola tira no son individuales. Y si se tira del 1ro se sale toda la hilera de dientes!!!

RussPastuch (author)2017-11-23

Be very careful bending the pull, it's made of white metal and will break very easily.

corneliussmurphy (author)2017-09-26

I have a Coach portfolio case (I think that's what it's called) picture attached and the zipper slider (rere M6) is not working while the metal zipper looks to be in great shape. Any thoughts on . . .

1) where to buy a zipper slider replacement?

2) how I should proceed to fix it?

Thanks so much . . . sure looks like you have an excellent following.

Hi, sorry for the late replay.

I will try before to buy another zipper slider, to follow this instructable and try to fix it this way.

If keep not working, you can purchase one on Ebay, making sure you measure yours, and buy one of the same measure. To replace it, you need to take off the old one and insert the new one like I explained in this instructabble. Many zipper replacement you buy online are openable too, so they are easy to place.

Anyways I'm not sure what the matter with your zipper, is hard to say without seeing it, so it may work, or may not!

thanks, I ended-up getting a new slider head at a local shoe repair who did a great job and $20 seemed really fair.

Kali Jennifer (author)2017-04-07

Thanks for awesome tips ! :)

You are welcome!

juanguerracotui (author)2017-04-25

Interesante solución... sube mas tips. Felicitaicones

ImadM3 (author)2017-02-09

I saw also on other fix it sites, a kit called fixnzip from amazon

PrakashM33 (author)2017-01-07

Thanks Brother!! ;)

marcellahella (author)PrakashM332017-01-07

You are welcome!

elva guy (author)2016-02-28

If I have no pliers what I do

dkoriss (author)elva guy2016-11-11

perhaps you buy a pair they are dirty cheap

thundrepance (author)elva guy2016-06-19

i bought a pair @ DOLLAR TREE :^)

Flyboyron (author)elva guy2016-05-26

Uh, get some? You can't expect to fix many things without basic tools. Pliers are about as basic as it gets. You can find them everywhere for a couple of bucks.

deluges (author)elva guy2016-05-26

You buy pliers or use your teeth and trust your luck...

Pliers are useful !

debbiedebz (author)2016-06-10

I've lost and ripped the bottom starter off my Barbour coat and nike hoody its ripped at bottom of the teeth at the side nr starter to how to fix thanks

WaluyoK (author)2016-05-29


Melinda7 (author)2016-05-27

Brilliant!!! Works like a charm :)

SirCooksalot (author)2016-05-26

I have a zipper issue, maybe someone can help? The starter piece at the bottom fell off, you know the little tab that slides into the zipper pull to get started? Fell right off ? It's on a hoody I like, but I can't zip it! Thanks for any help.

sekitori (author)SirCooksalot2016-05-26

If you lost the part you might be able ti fix the zipper using superglue to buildup a new starter-tab...?

Or glue-on some plastic to form a tab..... ?

LDM1 (author)2016-05-26

You can squeeze the zipper pull right on the garment with a pair of needle nose pliers, just gently squeeze it and try it, if the zippers closes and locks the teeth your good to go but, you can squeeze too hard and if you do just use a small screwdriver and open it up just a skosh, ya just have ta toy with it. Lube it with silicone spray for a smooth operation. Well, Happy DIY'in! Yom Tov!

crhpittsburgh (author)2016-05-26

Thanks, I will definitely be trying this one. I have a couple zippers that needed replaced and its hard to find a shop close that still does it. Fingers crossed it works for me ?

RiexpoR (author)2016-05-26

So good ,simple and important

TheNotoriousHoppington (author)2015-10-16

I have a zipper problem on my bag. The slider is still attached to one side of the track, but I can't get it back on to both. Would this method work? (It's a rather pricey bag and I'd prefer to not ruin it)

If this method won't work, because it's a captive zipper, you can try bending the slider like the picture shows. However, don't bend it much, because the metal is very brittle and might break. But if you're careful, it could work,and it's worth a try.
Then make sure the zipper sides are lined up, squeeze the slider back over the teeth, and slide it back and forth to rezip it.
Then, take some of the stuff out of that overstuffed bag!

KeltonC (author)2015-12-16

God bless you, it worked! for those without pliers, try using your teeth, it's what I did, but be careful not to hurt yourself!

My favorite jacked it back! YES! GOD BLESS!

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